Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Wheel, Not A List by Gail Purath

The Bible clearly tells us we must follow this priority list:  
1. God  
2. Spouse  
3. Children  
4. Extended family  
5. Church  
6. Community  

Right? Wrong!  

We evangelicals have created many lists and formulas, but they don’t all come from Scripture. This is one example. The only clear priorities in Scripture are these:

  • "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 19:27).
  • “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33, NLT).
A number of passages describe structure, authority, and responsibilities:
  • Genesis 2:24 designates new lines of authority when a couple marries.
  • Ephesians 5 and 6 compare the husband/wife relationship to Christ/Church, speak of nurturing children, and honoring parents.
  • Galatians 6:10 tells us to do good especially to fellow Christians.
But none of these passages or other similar passages create a clear, specific priority ranking.  

Aside from God always being our #1 priority, priorities are somewhat "organic" (flexible, arising naturally, not easily predictable).
This image is not meant to be all inclusive or a perfect example

Instead of a list, life is more like a wheel.(1) 

Christ is the center and each spoke represents a priority. As the wheel turns, different priorities take precedence.  

For example, the needs of a sick child take priority over date night with our spouse. Jobs sometimes take priority over family time. Caring for aging parents may take precedence over spending time and money on immediate family.
Being obedient to Christ is the only absolute, unchanging priority.     

Has our evangelical list sometimes led to family idolatry? I believe it has. I know I have been guilty of making my family's desires too important at times. Consequently, ministry, church, friendships, community and extended family have suffered.   

But it's never too late to change!

(1) This is not my original analogy. I read it years ago in a Christian publication but I'm not sure of the source. Top Image of men on gears: Free Digital Photos, jscreationzs;  2nd image of man on gear: Free Digital Photos, renjith krishnan 

Gail writes 1-Minute Bible Love Notes

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